Archive for thrillers

HELL TO PAY By Shaun Hutson – Reviewed

Posted in Reviews, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 23, 2012 by stanleyriiks

This book from 2004, follows a similar pattern to Hutson’s other “horror’ thrillers of the time such as White Ghost.  Around this time, Huston seems to leave the supernatural horror of his previous books behind and head into this new “thriller” territory. Normally there would still be plenty of violence and disturbing gruesome descriptions (that Hutson’s known for) to up the ante on the usual thrillers out there.

Hell to Pay follows the same principles, including the various plot-lines intersecting towards the end for a climactic showdown.

Nikki Reed is in trouble, big trouble. Her and her husband owe the local gangster twenty thousand pounds, most of it spent down the bookies and gambled away, the rest spent on Playstation 2s and similar unrequired accessories. They have until the end of the week to find the money, or they’re likely to be killed by the loan shark, who is already threatening them with violence.

Roma Todd is having an affair. Her husband is virtually estranged, spending all of his time at work and providing little in the way of parental support for their ill daughter Kirsten.

Detective Inspector Fielding is called to another murder. A young boy found washed up by a lake. The third child to be killed. Is it a serial killer they are looking for or a paedophile? Or both? With few clues to follow the police are searching for any lead they can get.

So these three plot lines will eventually intersect, but the climatic action denouement that you would expect ultimately fails to be realised. There is a slight twist, but not enough to satisfy.

One of the great things about Hutson’s novels is the pop-culture references, but reading a book that’s eight years old mean searching through the annals of history. That’s not Hutson’s fault obviously, the fact the book has been lying on my shelf for eight years though is down to the dissatisfied feeling I had after reading White Ghost. That is Hutson’s fault.

Ultimately Hutson is a decent writer who has moved away from what he was good at, writing horror novels, to have a go at the more lucrative thriller market where he does not excel. Nowadays Gary McMahon does urban horror with a much better grasp of the intricacies of modern youth culture, and a better handle on violence and atmosphere.

To write off Hutson as a has-been based on a book written eight years ago is far too harsh. Some of his novels, those that I grew up with such as Nemesis, Death Day, and Relics, are classic British horror. I need to read a more recent Hutson novel to make a more informed decision, and because of his former skill he can’t be written off after a couple of decent, if not impressive, horror thrillers. Decision pending…

APARTMENT 16 By Adam Nevill – Reviewed

Posted in Reviews, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 24, 2011 by stanleyriiks

Apryl’s great aunt is dead. Died in a taxi not far from her home, an apartment near Knightbridge in Barrington House. Apryl’s mother had left her to sort out the flat and sell it, but Apryl wants to know more about the long lost aunt they haven’t heard from for so many years, and when she finds her aunt’s journals she encounters a world of treachery, secrets, murder and madness.

Seth works as the Night Porter as Barrington House. He’s an artist just doing his job to pay the rent. But there are strange noises coming from Apartment 16. Although he’s not allowed to enter the flat he knows he must, he is drawn to it, and he knows someone or something is inside. When Seth opens the door his life and his sanity will be torn to shreds…

Ooh, I like a book that starts with a Prologue that sends shivers down your spine. Horror novels aren’t always scary, some are gross-out gory, some are thrillers with an extra level of violence, very rarely does a book actually make you not want to go to sleep, to make you turn on all the lights at night, to make you not want to enter the darkness. But Apartment 16 is one of those books. It’s a basic haunted house story so well told, so chilling, so shocking, so menacing, you can’t help but be swept away by it.

It reminded me of Joe Hill’s The Heart-Shaped Box with its clean, concise prose and utterly terrifying strange presences. It’s a new ghost story, despite the familiar theme, we have much more than a simple ghost story here. The plot is well thought out, gradually drawing us deeper into the characters’ experiences; the murder mystery element keeps things moving along nicely, as does one of the characters the slow descent into madness.

There is also a touch of Wheatley’s The Devil Rides Out, in the back-story.

There are so many good ideas in here that as a fellow writer it’s quite annoying. Every fifty pages I was thinking that would make a good story, this would make a good story, and Nevill has included them all in the one novel.

Shatteringly good, this one is creepy novel. A masterfully chilling debut.